Pakistan spinner Usman Qadir dazzled Zimbabwe to help his side wrap up a comprehensive clean sweep in their three-match Twenty20 series.

Zimbabwe were competitive in losing the ODI series 2-1 but have struggled in the shorter format and lost by eight wickets in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, sealing a 3-0 defeat.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, Zimbabwe struggled to 129-9 in their 20 overs, with Qadir taking a career-best 4-13 and moving to eight wickets for the series.

Pakistan had no issues in the run chase, reaching their target with 4.4 overs to spare. Debutant Abdullah Shafique top scored with 41, rewarding the decision to push him up the order made by Babar Azam on the day he was named Test captain.

After Brendan Taylor (8) had picked out Khushdil Shah at square leg off Imad Wasim in the fourth over and Craig Ervine (4) fell to Haris Rauf, Zimbabwe's hopes of building a competitive total were ended by in-form Qadir.

He accounted for captain Chamu Chibhabha, the tourists' top scorer with 31, as well as Milton Shumba (11) and Wesley Madhevere (9) before striking with his last ball to remove Elton Chigumbura, who managed just two in his final international match.

Pakistan's reply saw Fakhar Zaman fall for 21 just as it looked like he would produce the big innings he is under pressure to provide, while Haider Ali chipped in with 27.

Victory never looked in doubt, with Shafique producing a steady innings from 33 balls, while Khushdil struck 36 from just 15 deliveries in a knock that included three sixes to finish it in a hurry.

Khushdil's winning runs gave Pakistan a fifth straight victory in completed T20Is at home, equalling their record run.

Half-centuries from captain Babar Azam and Haider Ali saw Pakistan canter to a series-clinching eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second T20I.

Babar called correctly and asked the tourists to bat in Rawalpindi, on a different surface to the one Pakistan prevailed upon when the teams met on Friday.

The outcome was much the same, with Zimbabwe's innings never truly gaining any momentum after Haris Rauf (3-31) removed openers Brendan Taylor and Chamu Chibhabha inside the first four overs.

Leg-spinner Usman Qadir (3-23) was the pick of the Pakistan attack and his double-strike in the 10th over, accounting for Sikandar Raza (seven) and Wesley Madhevere (24) - bowled and lbw respectively by brilliant googlies - left Chibhabha's men 66-5.

From that point it became a matter of occupying the overs, something they managed thanks in large part to Ryan Burl's anchoring and unbeaten 32, which concluded with a six over midwicket off Wahab Riaz as Zimbabwe reached 134-7.

That never looked likely to be enough to contain Pakistan, even when Fakhar Zaman drove Blessing Muzarabani to mid-on in the second over.

That brought Haider together with Babar and they proceeded to compile 100 for the second wicket in 10.3 overs.

Babar raced to 51 off 27 deliveries before departing next ball to Muzarabani (2-33), impressively backing up his match-winning 82 in the series opener.

Haider, who drove with particular panache off the back foot, saw Pakistan home with a minimum of fuss as he finished unbeaten on 66 off 43 deliveries.

The three-match series concludes in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.   

Captain Babar Azam led the way as Pakistan secured a comfortable six-wicket victory in the Twenty20 series opener against Zimbabwe.

Wesley Madhevere top-scored with 70 as Zimbabwe posted 156-6, having opted to bat first in Rawalpindi on Saturday.

However, Babar - who sits second in the International Cricket Council's T20 batting rankings - made sure the hosts had few issues in their chase, hitting 82 from 55 balls at the top of the order.

The Pakistan skipper managed nine fours and a solitary six as he put on 80 for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez - who made 36 - following the dismissals of Fakhar Zaman (19) and Haider Ali (7)

Blessing Muzarabani - Zimbabwe's hero as they won the third and final ODI on Wednesday following a Super Over - dismissed both well-set batsmen, but Pakistan still cruised home with seven deliveries to spare.

Haris Rauf and Wahab Riaz earlier claimed two wickets apiece as the tourists slipped to 87-4 after Brendan Taylor won the toss.

Madhevere led the rebuild thanks to a career-best knock in the format, while Elton Chigumbura - who has announced he will retire at the end of the tour - added 21 in a hurry during the closing overs.

Zimbabwe will look to stay alive in the three-match series when the teams meet again at the same venue on Sunday.

Babar Azam will get a chance to return to the top of the Twenty20 international batting rankings when Pakistan look to maintain a perfect record against Zimbabwe in the three-match series.

Pakistan captain Babar was replaced by England's Dawid Malan as officially the best batsman on the planet in the shortest format in September after he was in the runs against Australia.

Babar has spent a cumulative 774 days as number one across four stretches since January 2018 and is only eight rating points shy of Malan.

Pakistan have won all 11 T20 contests with Zimbabwe and the classy Babar will see three games against the tourists as a golden opportunity to dislodge Malan.

Yet Zimbabwe come into the first match of the series on Saturday on a high from a shock Super Over victory that prevented them from suffering a 3-0 ODI whitewash at the hands of Pakistan.

We use Opta data to preview the series in Rawalpindi.

 

- Pakistan beat Bangladesh in each of their two other T20 matches at home this year. They had suffered three defeats on the spin on their own patch before those victories.

- Zimbabwe have been beaten in nine of their past 13 T20Is in Asia. Three of their four victories came against non-Test playing nations, but they beat Afghanistan in September 2019.

- Brendan Taylor has 878 runs at international level in the shortest format and is looking to join Hamilton Masakadza as the only Zimbabwe batsman to reach the 1,000 mark.

- Sean Williams heads into this contest on the back of scoring a fourth ODI century (118 not out), at this venue in a famous win on Tuesday. He has made 58no and an unbeaten 40 in two of his past three T20 knocks versus Pakistan.

- Shaheen Afridi (23), Imad Wasim (22), Shadab Khan (21) and Haris Rauf (17) had more dot balls than any England bowlers in a drawn T20 series in August and September.

Blessing Muzarabani produced a sensational performance as Zimbabwe avoided an ODI whitewash at the hands of Pakistan with a Super Over victory in Rawalpindi. 

Pakistan already held an unassailable lead in the three-match series after the opening two fixtures, but Muzarabani ensured the tourists have something to celebrate as he starred with the ball. 

Zimbabwe set Pakistan 279 for victory, Sean Williams hitting an unbeaten 118 as Brendan Taylor (56) struck a half-century and Wesley Madhevere (33 off 31) and Sikandar Raza (45 off 36) produced efficient contributions. 

Mohammad Hasnain's 5-26 had helped restrict Zimbabwe but Muzarabani answered in kind, his five-for ensuring Pakistan finished their innings tied on 278-9. 

The key wicket came in the penultimate over, Muzarabani removing home captain Babar Azam, who scored a run-a-ball 125, by drawing an edge with the final delivery of his 10-over allocation. 

Pakistan needed 13 off the 50th over but, minus Babar, could only manage 12, with a final-ball four from Muhammad Musa forcing a Super Over in which Muzarabani proved decisive. 

He took the wickets of Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah in the space of four balls to restrict Pakistan to two runs, with Taylor and Raza securing the win with just three balls of Zimbabwe's reply.

 

 

Iftikhar Ahmed's five-wicket haul and a fine display from Babar Azam inspired Pakistan in a dominant six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe to clinch their one-day series after two matches.

Iftikhar (5-40) had not bowled at all in the first ODI – a 26-run win – and his sole prior international wicket in this format came in his 2015 debut against England.

But in the absence of rested paceman Wahab Riaz, who took four wickets in the previous match, the off-spinner was handed the ball on Sunday and took full advantage.

Debutant Muhammad Musa (2-21) also made an early contribution with the dismissal of Craig Ervine, yet it was Iftikhar who intervened each time Zimbabwe started to build momentum.

The 30-year-old took his five wickets in succession, starting with dangermen Brendan Taylor (36) and finishing with Sean Williams (75).

Musa then brought the innings to a close as Carl Mumba's departure saw Zimbabwe all out for 206 in the 46th over, teeing up a routine Pakistan chase.

Tendai Chisoro (2-49) belatedly slowed the hosts as he removed both openers, but that brought Babar to the crease and the Pakistan skipper excelled.

Babar finished unbeaten on 77 off 74 balls, a steady but effective innings that finished with a flourish as he found the long-off fence with 88 balls still remaining.

The captain propelled Pakistan to 208-4 having also earlier helped Haider Ali – another debutant – through his first 29 runs at this level.

Shaheen Afridi took five wickets as Pakistan fended off a Zimbabwe side who were almost propelled to a shock ODI victory by Brendan Taylor.

Pakistan landed a 26-run victory in the first game of a three-match ODI series, the first step for both teams on the road to the 2023 World Cup, inflicting on Zimbabwe their 500th international defeat.

The home side posted 281-8 before bowling out Zimbabwe for 255, but the visitors had been firmly in the hunt until wicketkeeper-batsman Taylor fell for a battling 112 to the penultimate ball of the 47th over. He had earlier taken three catches and played his part in a run out.

It was Shaheen who ended his stay on the way to figures of 5-49, while fellow left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz also claimed a priceless 4-41, wrapping up the win by bowling last man Blessing Muzarabani.

Babar Azam, in his first ODI as Pakistan captain, was able to celebrate a hard-fought success - a seventh in a row for the team.

Pakistan's innings was built on half-centuries from opener Imam-ul-Haq (58) and Haris Sohail (71), but wickets fell at such regular intervals that there was no defining partnership. Indeed, the opening pair of Imam and Abid Ali put on more than any other pair. 

Imad Wasim clubbed a pair of late sixes late in the innings on his way to an unbeaten 34 from 26 balls, but Zimbabwe were still in the game. 

Shaheen accounted for openers Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha, bowling both to leave Zimbabwe wobbling on 28-2 in reply, but Craig Ervine (41) and Taylor put on 71 for the third wicket, and it was game on when Taylor and Wesley Madhevere produced a century stand for the fifth. 

Yet losing Madhevere (55) early in the 46th over was a major blow, with Wahab disrupting the established partnership and giving Pakistan the breakthrough they craved. 

Taylor was next to go, top-edging to Wahab at mid-off, and the Zimbabwe lower order was blown away, along with the prospect of a tight finish. 

It meant a success for Pakistan in their first ODI since October 2019, and in the first such match played at Rawalpindi since 2006. 

Having lost 17 of their previous 18 ODIs in Pakistan, it was a largely predictable outcome for Zimbabwe, with the teams due back in action in the second match of this series on Sunday.

Pakistan will be expected to continue their ODI winning streak when Babar Azam's reign starts with a three-match series against Zimbabwe on Friday.

Babar will take charge of his country for the first time in the 50-over format at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, where all three matches will be staged, after succeeding Sarfraz Ahmed.

Chamu Chibhabha has been charged with the task of leading Zimbabwe when ODI cricket returns to Rawalpindi for the first time since 2006.

No fans will be allowed in for the first internationals to take place in Pakistan since the coronavirus outbreak ground sport to a halt. 

Pakistan have their sights set on maximum points in the ICC World Cricket Super League as they bid to secure automatic qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India.

We use Opta data to preview the series, which will see Douglas Hondo take over as head coach of the tourists after Lalchand Rajput opted against making the trip.

- This is set to be the 13th multi-game men's bilateral ODI series between the two nations. Pakistan have won 11 of those and the other was drawn.

- Pakistan have won 52 of their 57 completed ODIs versus Zimbabwe (T1 L4) and they are on a six-game winning run against them in the 50-over format.

- Zimbabwe have suffered 17 defeats in their 18 ODIs in Pakistan (W1); they have lost both contests at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

- The tourists are playing their first international in Pakistan since May 2015. They have not been victorious in any game in the country since recording a seven-wicket Test win back in 1998.

- Pakistan have put together a six-game winning ODI streak. They lost 13 times in 14 matches before this run.

- Zimbabwe are one shy of a 500th international defeat. The tourists have only managed to win 168 games, drawing 28 and securing a tie in nine.

- Fakhar Zaman has scored 515 runs in five ODI innings versus Zimbabwe, averaging 257.5. That is the best rate ever recorded by a batsman against a single opponent in men's ODI cricket (minimum 400 runs).

- No bowler claimed more wickets than Faheem Ashraf (nine) when Pakistan took on Zimbabwe in their last ODI bilateral series, picking those scalps up for just 67 runs.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has officially launched the inaugural ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League, starting with England's one-day series against Ireland.

Introduced to help bring context to 50-over cricket at the highest level, the Super League will be used as a qualification system for the next ICC World Cup, scheduled for 2023 in India.

There will be 13 teams involved – the 12 full members, as well as the Netherlands – and the top seven in the final table will automatically secure their place at the global tournament, the ICC confirmed in a statement.

All sides will play four series at home and away, with each consisting of three matches.

"The league will bring relevance and context to ODI cricket over the next three years, as qualification for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 is at stake," Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager for cricket operations, said.

"The Super League gives cricket fans around the world even more reasons to watch as the drama of league cricket unfolds.

"The decision last week to move the World Cup back to late 2023 gives us more time to schedule any games lost due to COVID-19 and preserve the integrity of the qualification process, meaning it will be decided on the field of play, which is important."

Reigning world champions England will kick things off this week when they start their series against Ireland, the first of three matches between the teams taking place at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

"We're looking forward to playing cricket again and to the ICC Men's World Cup Super League," England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan said.

"Given the situation, it will be quite different to the last time we played at home, when we lifted the World Cup at Lord's, but it's nice to be starting our journey for the next edition of the tournament. 

"I'm sure cricket fans all over the world will be excited to see white-ball cricket resume and we're looking forward to the challenge."

Australia's ODI series against Zimbabwe scheduled for August has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zimbabwe were due to play three ODIs in Australia later this year, but it has been postponed.

In a statement, Cricket Australia (CA) said it and Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) had mutually agreed to the decision due to the short length of the series, significant biosecurity measures which would need to be in place and safety concerns.

"While we are disappointed to postpone the series, CA and ZC agree that in the best interest of players, match officials, volunteers as well as our fans, that this is the most practical and sensible decision," interim CA chief executive Nick Hockley said.

"We are committed to working with Zimbabwe Cricket on alternative dates to reschedule."

Acting ZC managing director Givemore Makoni said he was keen to see the series go ahead at another time.

"We were excited about facing Australia but, given the circumstances, deferring the tour was the only option," he said.

"We are, however, looking forward to the rescheduling of the series as soon as practically possible."

There have been more than 10.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 507,000.

India have pulled out of tours to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe because of fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released a statement on Friday confirming the team's withdrawal.

It comes after Sri Lanka Cricket had already announced the cancellation of the tour, which was set to include three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches.

India were scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka on June 24 and then to Zimbabwe for a three-match ODI series starting in August.

A BCCI statement added: "The BCCI is determined to take steps towards the resumption of international and domestic cricket, but it will not rush into any decision that will jeopardise the efforts put in by the central and state governments and several other respective agencies in containing the spread of the coronavirus.
 
"The office-bearers have been taking note of advisories issued by the government of India and the board is committed to fully comply with the restrictions imposed and guidelines issued. The BCCI will continue to study and evaluate the changing situation."

The ICC has delayed a decision over the respective fates of the men's T20 World Cup and women's Cricket World Cup in order to continue exploring contingency plans over the next month.

Australia is due to host the men's T20 competition between October 18 and November 15 but the status of the tournament remains unclear due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while the women's 50-over event is slated to take place in New Zealand from February 6 to March 7 next year.

Last month, the ICC denied reports a decision had been taken to move the T20 World Cup back to next year, although Cricket Australia said it was braced for the postponement.

Following an ICC Board meeting on Wednesday, the governing body said it will "continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19 working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved."

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: "The situation surrounding the global pandemic is evolving rapidly and we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make the right decision for the whole sport. 

"The health and well-being of everyone involved is our priority and other considerations fall out from that.

"We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our Members, broadcasters, partners, governments and players and to ensure that we make a well informed decision."

Andy Flower was, for a long time, Zimbabwe's only batsman of true Test quality in all conditions.

He also holds a peculiar record as an ODI wicket-keeper-batsman of world-class quality. Andy Flower is also the only player to score an ODI hundred on debut in a World Cup match.

He also has the record for the most matches (149) between his first and second centuries with the latter coming in his 150th ODI.

He, along with Heath Streak set the record for the highest 7th wicket partnership for Zimbabwe in ODIs.

For a period of about two years from the start of 2000, he was so phenomenally consistent that he has no rival as the best player in Zimbabwe's history. He was expected to excel in both departments: wicket-keeping and batting and was handed the additional responsibility of leading both the ODI and Test teams.

In the latter part of his career, Flower was compared with Adam Gilchrist, who many pundits acknowledged was the best wicketkeeper-batsman the world had ever seen.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Andrew Flower

Born: April 28, 1968, Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa

Major teams: Zimbabwe, Essex, Marylebone Cricket Club, Mashonaland, South Australia

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

Height: 5 ft 10 in

 

ODI Career: Zimbabwe (1992 – 2003)

Mat       Inns      NO        Runs      HS        Ave       BF         SR         100s       50s          Ct        St

213        208       16         6786      145       35.34     9097      74.59          4         55           141       32

 

Career Highlights

  • 3rd batsman to score a century on ODI debut
  • Has scored 6,786 runs in ODIs at an average of 35.34
  • 4 hundreds and 55 half-centuries in ODIs

Cricket Australia (CA) is braced for a huge financial hit due to the possible postponement of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, as well as playing home games without spectators. 

Speaking to the media on Friday, CA chief executive Kevin Roberts predicted the governing body stands to miss out on 80million Australian dollars due to the potential changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Admitting there is a “very high risk” of the global T20 tournament being pushed back from the original plan of October and November this year, Roberts outlined the expected missed income due to such a delay. 

However, the bigger blow is a home summer without any fans present at international fixtures, while there is also the extra cost of the biosecurity measures required to host opposing teams. 

"The likelihood of significant crowds is very slim - ordinarily that would deliver well over $50m revenue to CA," Roberts told reporters. 

"The T20 World Cup is a big question and that's a factor of perhaps $20m. We have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November, but you would have to say there's a very high risk about the prospect of that happening. 

"And it's likely that our biosecurity measures that we need to put in place to deliver the season will cost in the order of $10m." 

Australia are due to host Zimbabwe in one-day internationals in August, then West Indies arrive for T20 games in October. As for Tests, Afghanistan are due to play one in Perth in November, followed by a four-match series against India, who complete their tour with three ODIs in January. 

New Zealand are the final visitors of a packed schedule, making the short trip for three one-dayers and a one-off T20 early next year. 

On the recently released schedule, Roberts remained cautiously optimistic, adding: “We're very optimistic that we will be able to stage the India men's tour and the other inbound tours for the season. 

"But we're realistic enough to know they will look very different to a normal summer. We have been forced to effectively plan for the worst and hope for the best." 

Cricket Australia (CA) has released a full international schedule for 2020-21, with the four-Test series against India to begin at the Gabba on December 3.

CA revealed the fixtures for Australia's men's and women's teams on Thursday and the schedule is packed despite fears that matches may have to be cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The men's team, who have not played since March when a one-day international series against New Zealand was cancelled after just one game, are due to first face Zimbabwe in three ODIs, beginning on August 9 at a venue yet to be determined.

After playing three T20s against West Indies and then India, Australia will host Afghanistan in a one-off Test in Perth that starts on November 21 before taking on Virat Kohli's team again in four Tests and three ODIs.

Their home season will conclude with a four-match ODI series against New Zealand in January and February.

The Australia women's team are set to return to action in September with a T20 series against New Zealand, who they will then meet in three ODIs prior to another series in that format against India in January.

The headline series for the men's team is undoubtedly the four-Test dual with Kohli's India, which will take place in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

In announcing the fixtures, CA CEO Kevin Roberts conceded the final schedule may have to be tweaked depending on the spread of the coronavirus over the coming weeks and months.

"While acknowledging the difficulty in navigating a global pandemic, we are nonetheless encouraged by the progress Australia is making in combatting the coronavirus and the positive impact that is having on our ability to host an exciting summer of cricket in 2020-21," Roberts said.

"We know that circumstances or events beyond our control could mean that the final schedule potentially may look different to the one released today, but we'll be doing everything we can to get as much international cricket in as possible this summer. We will communicate any changes to the schedule if or when they are required. 

"We are engaged in ongoing discussions with federal and state governments, our venues and the touring nations to continually understand and monitor the situation in front of us, which is evolving every day. We'll continue to act in accordance with public health advice and government protocols to ensure the safety of the public, players and support staff."

India won the most recent Test series in Australia in 2018-19, the first time they had emerged victorious in that format Down Under.

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